Martha’s Vineyard 20 Miler

Martha’s Vineyard 20 Miler
Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts
Saturday, Feb. 19, 2011

20 miles
Finish: 2:15:04 (6:45 pace)
32nd Overall of ~400
5th Place M40-44

1st Half: 1:07:12 (6:43 pace)
2nd Half: 1:07:52 (6:47 pace)
Terrain: Exceptionally flat for first 10 miles, slightly rolling thereafter.
Weather: 34F, wind steady @ 24-28 mph with gusts to 50.
Marathon-A-Month: #6
Marathon #60*
*Even though goal was marathon distance, I am not sure I will count this… still thinking about it.

Race Report

In hindsight, now that I have looked back at my splits, Martha’s Vineyard 20 Miler turned out to be a very good race with where I currently am — but not where I was at this time last year.

Last year at this time I covered the exact same course on the Vineyard to a tune of 2:30 faster. I was running so well that, back then, I dubbed the course as “my own private speedway.” I felt ‘fluid and fast.’ This year I knew coming into the race that I was not where I was last year at this time. This year I am ‘sluggish and slower.’ The sluggishness made me also believe that I am not as strong. This, I found out, was not so. And this is exactly what drives me onward. Let me explain.

My first half split (1:07:12) as compared with the second (1:07:52) shows me my strength is there. The reason it was surprising to see those splits so close was because the second half of the race, now fighting a nasty head wind over slightly rolling terrain, felt far, far harder and required me to dig very deep; this in contrast to the first half that was run over predominantly flat terrain with a steady 25 mph wind thrusting us from behind.

And because I went out on the hard side, not exactly pacing but rather running to ability for the distance, I thought the slowdown would be far more than a few seconds — because the thing is that it certainly felt like I lost far more time. I take pride in that I know the only way to hold on for so long in those conditions is sheer strength. So although I am slightly slower than last year, I still have the ability to race — go out hard and hold, hold, hold to the end with minimal slowdown.

Being able to average 6:46 in those conditions gives me confidence that a sub-3 hour marathon is still in the cards. My goal has been to notch one on this side of 40. Now at 41 years old, I have yet to do that. In fact, the last time I went under three hours, I did it twice within a month. That span of a month started with the London Marathon (2:59:28) on my honeymoon, the Boston Marathon a week later (3:24 – ran easy), and Providence Marathon (2:59:12) two weeks after that. A magical span of 30 days for me. All I want is one more taste. Just one.

WU – 33:50 (5 miles)*
1 – 6:37
2 – 6:52
3 – 6:50
4 – 6:29
5 – 6:44
6 – 6:53
7 – (6:39)
8 – (6:40)
9 – (6:40) 19:59
10 – 6:44 – 1st Half: 1:07:12 (6:43 pace)
11 – 6:43
12 – 6:45
13 – 6:44
14 – 6:43
15 – 6:54
16 – 6:56
17 – 6:56
18 – 6:41
19 – 6:50
20 – 6:34 – 2nd Half: 1:07:52 (6:47 pace)
Finish: 1:15:04

CD – 10:00
*Long warm up due to me wanting to get in marathon distance for keeping the Marathon-A-Month streak alive at 6. Might count this as marathon #60 overall.

One Response to Martha’s Vineyard 20 Miler

  1. […] goal for the week was to recover sufficiently from racing Martha’s Vineyard 20 Miler last Saturday so that I could still maintain quality in speed and hill sessions for the week. […]

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